We had to move my 86 year old Mother-in-Law in with us a week ago. She is from Florida and we had to move her to another state. She has always been a very strong and independent woman and I know this move has been very difficult for her. Below are my immediate issues:

1. She asks my husband or I almost every day if she is staying with us forever as she doesn't seem to remember us telling her already many times. She gets upset every time we tell her as she "hates this state".

2. I am not sure how to explain to her why we had to move her up here. If I even mention her memory loss issues she gets mad at me. I am just not sure what to tell her without upsetting her. She gets confused very easily and when that happens she shakes her head and says "God please just take me". She is always wishing she would just die.

3. She is not doing well with her finances; she hoards her checkbooks in her very stuffed belly bag. I'm not trying to take the finances away from her completely I just want her to be willing to let my husband help her with them. She has accounts in three different banks. She can't even remember that Wells Fargo took over Wachovia ages ago and still has a Wachovia checkbook and keeps says I don't have a Wells Fargo account.

I have no idea what I am doing and trying to learn as I go. My husband, although a wonderful and loving man, has less of a clue than I do and most of the emotional care is on me. He is great with the medical and physical care.

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Once again jeannegibbs has offered good advice. I, too, am in the early learning stages of how to deal with someone with dementia. Some days are easier than others, but the "bad" days seem to outnumber the "good" days, and I am quickly learning the meaning of "caregiver burnout"....and I've only just begun. Learning as much as you can about the disease is helpful. Get her to a good doctor who can properly diagnose the problem and start the best course of treatment. Getting your MIL to socialize with others is also a good idea. I am sure she feels isolated, uprooted, out of her comfort zone...I did too when we moved the first time...In many ways I still do. Even tho I have a nice home in a nice area, it is still not "Home"...never will be. Give your loved one time. It's only been a week. The older we get the more difficult it is to adjust to a new situation, new surroundings. Add on what might be dementia, and the change can be overwhelming. Be patient and kind. Find out what she likes to do, eat, read, watch on TV....let her have some semblance of what is "normal" for her. It isn't easy and I certainly admire what you have done. Good luck and God bless.
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You have generously taken on a big task. Thank you for giving your MIL a good, safe, clean, comfortable home. She needs this very much. Nearly everyone who takes on the care of a person with dementia says, "Wow, I didn't know it would be like this! I don't know how to handle it." You'll learn, as we all do. It may speed things up if you learn more about the disease she has. Much information is available on the Internet.

I agree with virtualhorizon that putting off the financial issues until she is more settled and comfortable might be best (unless there is a financial crisis brewing, of course.) Who has DPOA?

On your other issues:
1) Asking the same question repeatedly is common. Forgetting the answer is common. Try (by trial and error) to come up with an answer that is not so upsetting to her. "Who knows about forever, Mom? But for right now we are so glad to have you staying with us! We've missed you when we were so far apart."

2) This, unfortunately, is not unusual, either. "Mom, we've missed you so much and it is so good to have you here. As you get older we thought you might need a little help. We wanted you here while you are still so healthy, to get used to the place and for us to get to know how you do things while you are healthy so we can take better care of you if you get sick.

Soften the truth so it is easier for her to accept. This is a skill you'll use again and again in dealing with her dementia in the years ahead.

Good luck. And don't worry, you'll get more comfortable with the caregiver role as time passes.
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Your MIL may be missing the comfort of her old home and the friends she had there. Being suddenly moved away from everything you know can be very upsetting to anyone, much less a person with dementia. You might check around for senior citizen centers in your town...our town has several where people can go and spend the day, have lunch for a few dollars, play games and interact with other seniors. This would probably be a benefit to her if she is still in a stage where she can be out socially. It will help her make new friends and feel that she fits in. Sometimes the depression and anger a person feels is a result of being out of their comfort zone. Once she's settled in a little, maybe you and/or your husband can offer to help her with her banking and finances "so that she doesn't have to worry so much about them". The first step might be suggesting that she combine all of her checking accounts into one account and all of her savings accounts into one account. She may feel that having her money spread out over different banks is a way to keep it safe, but it can also cause confusion.
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